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Sam Darnold Says 'It Sucks' to Lose Panthers' QB Battle to Baker Mayfield

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 22, 2022

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold didn't hold back with his reaction to losing the QB1 battle to Baker Mayfield.

"For me, it sucks, to be quite honest," Darnold told reporters.

Head coach Matt Rhule named Mayfield the starter Monday after the team's second preseason game, which featured neither Mayfield nor Darnold. Rhule still praised the now-backup.

"The reality of this league is most teams will play multiple quarterbacks," the coach said. "Sam has worked incredibly hard, played really well for us during training camp, and will be ready to go if and when it's needed."

Darnold has entered each season of his four-year career as a starter, including three with the New York Jets and last year with the Panthers. He appeared in 12 games in 2021, though he struggled with just nine passing touchdowns and 13 interceptions for a 71.9 rating.

His 33.2 total QBR ranked 29th of 31 qualified players, beating only rookies Zach Wilson and Justin Fields.

It was enough for the Panthers to search for alternatives this offseason, and they finally added Mayfield in a July trade with the Cleveland Browns.

The two had split first-team reps in practices, and Darnold was OK in limited time this preseason. He finished 2-of-3 for 16 yards with a touchdown in Week 1 against the Washington Commanders. Mayfield went 4-of-7 for 45 yards.

Mayfield won the job and will look to get revenge against his old team in Week 1 of the regular season.

Darnold needed an opportunity to prove himself heading into the final year of his rookie contract, but he could have few chances this year if he remains second on the depth chart.

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